Indigenous Contractors have shut down the headquarters of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in Rivers State over the failure of the commission to pay their debts.
The contractors under the umbrella of NDDC Indigenous Contractors Association had in the past six days taken over the premises of the commission in protest, frustrating all activities of the office.
The contractors, who are of Niger Delta origin with placards bearing different inscriptions such as “NDDC pay us our money’, ‘NDDC, Akwa pay contractors to please’, ‘NDDC contractors are dying,’ noted that all attempts to get their pay had proven abortive.
Speaking, the president of the association, Andrew Ijegbai, regretted that contractors for over five years have not been paid for the services they rendered to the commission, describing it as an act of wickedness.
Ijegbai said it is painful that the contractors used their money to execute the projects, regretting that such projects have been commissioned and put in use whereas the money invested by the contractors has not been paid back.
He said: “We are here because we have done jobs for NDDC for the past four years. We have been waiting for our payment, but they are giving us all kinds of excuses.
“As it stands now we can no longer afford our children’s schools fees. We collected most of that money from financial institutions and we used our houses as collateral, now the banks are collecting our houses.
“We have pleaded; we have gone to Abuja, but to no avail. NDDC has not been like this. Once you earn your IPC you will be paid but we don’t know what is happening since the inception of this present board.
He, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and all well-meaning Nigerians to intervene to ensure that their money is paid.
Also, the Director of Board of Trustees of the association, Victor Fakar, noted that if the commission had in mind to clear the debt they would have done so at ease, adding that NDDC was not committed to paying the debts.
He said: “We will continue this protest. He (Akwa) feels he is everything. If he gives his words he should hold on to them. He promised to pay in December but we did not get anything.
Lawyers sue FG, Akwa
Meanwhile, some legal practitioners based in Bayelsa State have asked a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to sack the Interim Administrator of NDDC, Mr. Effiong Akwa, and stop him from parading himself as such.
The lawyers are also asking the court to order Akwa to refund all salaries and allowances paid to him by the Federal Government to the nation’s treasury single account during the period he has been in office as the Interim Administrator of the NDDC.
The lawyers, Wisdom Adikwe and Egbamokumo Zikenah of E. G. Aderigha Law Firm, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, listed the Federal Government as the first defendant, Akwa as second defendant and NDDC as third.
In a 10-point claim against the defendants, the plaintiffs are also seeking a mandatory order of the court compelling the Federal Government to constitute the board of the commission and a declaration that the position of an Interim Administrator violates the act setting up the board.
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